Relief organizations around the world are recognizing June 20 as World Refugee Day. Refugees and advocates say it is a day to honor the resilience of those who have fled their home countries.
Kentucky Refugee Ministries celebrated the day in Louisville with a picnic in Tyler Park. Citizens and folks who had recently settled in Louisville gathered to eat, dance and relax in the shade. Even those fasting for Ramadan were encouraged to take a plate of Halal food to go.
I spoke with three people about what living in the United States has offered them, despite the tough transitions. Listen to what they said in the player above.
Rolando Gil is an ESL teacher with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Gil came from Cuba, where he could not express himself freely.
“Then you come to America and realize you’ve been deceived all your life,” Gil said.
Yahye Garame sat in the shade alone, but his son and daughter were nearby on the playground. Garame is from Somalia and spent the last nine years in the U.S. It wasn’t until this year that his children were able to come live with him in Louisville.
“You don’t see them because it’s a long way,” said Garame. “Now everything that she sees, I see.”
Featured Image: Seventh grader Mundi Kapuya (left) is with his friends for World Refugee Day at Tyler Park. Mundi was born in Zambia and said that he can get a free education in the states, unlike many countries in Africa.